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October 2005 Club News

Ronnie | Sidecars | Veterans | Wales | Calendar

Ronnie's Harley

Pre-restoration Harley
Pre-restoration Harley

G'day! My name is Ronnie Jellesma.A couple of months ago me and my girlfriend, Antoinet, became members of the motorcycle club. I thought it would be nice to write a story about my bike, it's a 1976 Harley Davidson 1200 Electra Glide. 

Made in the USA, it was sent with another 100 Harleys to Teheran (capital city of Iran) where it served time as a police bike. I don't know for how long, but in 1992 the bikes were imported into the Netherlands. 

It took the importers five years to get them into the Netherlands. Once in Holland they were separated to different Harley shops. I was 20 and an apprentice motor mechanic. I could not afford a new Harley, so the only option was to restore a Harley.

Me and my uncle, who also rides a Harley, had a look. 10 HDs, all of them wrecks, which did not run. They had flat tyres, heaps of parts missing, dents, mud and oil everywhere. But in the end we picked what we thought was the best one. 

As we arrived home my mum was nearly in tears: So much money for a piece of crap. For the next 16 months I put all my wages in the project. The Iranian mechanics used parts of cars or other bikes to keep the Harleys going. 

In May,1994 the bike was road legal. The first test ride was one I will never forget. The bike is fitted with a suicide clutch and tank gear shift, something new for me back then. As I let the clutch go the bike started rolling but I lost balance and took my left foot off the clutch pedal, the clutch was still engaged and the next moment I crashed into my dad's car.

It damaged the bike and the car! I was the youngest member of a local motorcycle club. The members admired the bike. Every summer we went on holiday on the bike. We travelled to France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Poland, Denmark and Sweden. 

On the weekends we went to bike shows and rallies. In 1998 I immigrated to Australia and the bike was shipped to Sydney. After some hassle with the Road Department it was licensed in NSW.

Riding in and around Sydney was great, the whole year around you can ride your bike. In 2000 Antoinet and I went on holiday to Tasmania. We rode along the coast from Wollongong to Melbourne and took the Devil Cat to Tassie.

Harley after restore in the Aussie bush
Ronnie and Harley after restore literally in the Aussie bush

We spent 10 days riding around the island. Back on the mainland we took the Great Ocean Road and went to Kerang where we visited family.

Unfortunately a hydraulic lifter collapsed so it was the end of the trip. In 2002 we travelled around Oz in a 1962 Volkswagen Split-screen. When we arrived in Albany we said: we want to live here.

We sold our house in Wollongong and came across the Nullarbor. The Harley was dismantled and stored in the VW bus. We drove a Toyota Landcruiser with car trailer. The VW and all our other belongings were on the trailer. It took us 10 days to come across. We camped along the way.

When we found a house it was time to put the bike together again. With some little modifications the bike was licensed in October, 2004 on WA number plates. We hope to explore the West on the Harley. There are still lots of places to see

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